It’s unlikely that anyone goes in to a marriage expecting it to fail, but the reality is that marriages do end, and when a farm business and farm property is involved it can get very messy, very quickly — It doesn’t have to be this way.
Instead of thinking of a pre-nuptial agreement as an admission of a marriage’s fragility, think of it as one less thing to worry about within a marriage (trust us, the less there is to argue about, the better). When people enter in to a marriage with a solid pre-nup in place, it means that all parties — extended family included — can focus on farming and growing the business whole-heartedly, instead of having a nagging “But what if….?” working against you in the background.
While the conversation around establishing a pre-nup may be uncomfortable, it’s so important to a farm’s business, whether owned by an individual or family, says Anjali Sharma, with Davidson & Williams LLP. Pre-nups, at a basic level, lay out who owns what at the outset of a marriage, and can exempt these assets from division in the future, should the marriage end.
For those that are already married, there are post-nuptial agreements, too, and these agreements might simply be a formal and official documentation of what has already been discussed and agreed too, informally. Farmers do love handshake deals, but when emotions run high, they don’t leave much to fall back on.
Listen below (now, or download the audio for listening offline!) as Mind Your Farm Business host Shaun Haney and Anjali Sharma, with Davidson & Williams LLP, discuss pre- and post-nups and bigger picture estate planning decisions.
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